Free APP helps parents of preterm babies

Media release 18 March 2019 | A free APP is improving the experience of parents with babies in the Neonatal Unit at Counties Manukau Health’s Middlemore Hospital.

The Babble New Zealand Neonatal Family App or “Babble” is designed for parents who have a baby in the Neonatal Unit or who are expecting a baby that may need admission to a Neonatal Unit. This could be because they were born preterm or have other complications, explains Senior Medical Officer Kidz First Neonatal Care Dr Chris McKinlay.

Free Family App - BabbleBabble contains information about feeding equipment, routine tests, common diseases, medication and what to expect when a baby is born preterm. The APP also allows parents to keep an online journal with pictures of their baby, and read stories written by other parents about their experience of the Neonatal Unit.

The APP was designed by MidCentral DHB and further developed by CM Health for use across multiple DHBs and in a tertiary neonatal care setting. CM Health began offering it free to parents in September 2018, after receiving a $16,000 innovation grant from Vodafone. The newly developed APP allows DHBs to share common content while providing site-specific information to local users.

Dr McKinlay says CM Health decided to offer Babble as a way of promoting family centred care.

 “Parents and whaanau can access information when they need it, at their own pace and as questions arise. It covers everything from having a very preterm baby to getting ready for home,” he says.

“Having a baby in the Neonatal Unit is typically a very stressful time for parents, with a lot of information being given out.  The APP allows them to access self-led information at the appropriate time, as opposed to receiving a pack of printed information that they might not read,”C he says.

“We know that these days people spend a lot of time on their phone, so it helps to make this productive time. Staff are also using the APP in parent education and family updates.”

He points out that the journal component of the APP allows parents some connection to their baby even if they are not with them in the Neonatal Unit.

The APP has been very well received by parents with around 80 new users per month. Staff are also enjoying being able to offer families a high-quality, engaging resource.


Issued by: Counties Manukau Health Communications 
Media Line: 09 250 9857 Email:

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